Miss has been overflowing with love these past few days. She's always a pretty loving girl, but these past few days she has been extra affectionate. Example: A couple of days ago we spent 10-15 minutes sitting on her bed, during which time she said over and over again, "Momma, I wub you Momma!" and "I wub you so much Momma" and "Momma, I so pwoud of you!" and "Awww, I wub my Mommy!" She gave hugs and kisses and patted my back and snuggled up to me. I was soaking it up.
These days she's giving extra love to me, to her baby doll "Big Baby," and all her other special toys that she sleeps with (Elmo, Bear, and Teddy Bear). She does this funny little wiggle and scrunches her face up when she is saying how much she "wubs" something or someone. It is enough to make me turn to mush.
Of course Miss doles out the love to her sister too. "I wub my Lass" (she uses Lass's real name though), "Weew (we're) best fweinds."
Sometimes she gives love to her sister a little too much. . .
She's also giving extra love to our dogs. "I wub my Tessa," she says. We recently found out our older dog has liver cancer and I have explained to Miss that she's sick. Yesterday Miss took one of her play pots and put some toy food in it and kept trying to give it to the poor dog. I asked her what she had made for Tessa and she said "I made chicken soup for Tessa to feew betteh!"
I don't know what has prompted this outpouring of extra love from my big girl, but I'll take it. I am trying to burn into my brain the feel of her little squeezes and the sound of her voice saying, "I wub you Momma." I never want to forget her little wiggle as she nestles up to me and coos "Ooo-hoo-hoo, you so pwetty Momma." The love from my girls. It's like a drug and I can't get enough of it. It's a salve for the moments when I am tired and crabby and snap at Miss more than I'd like to admit. Today has been a day with too many of those not-so-lovely moments, which is probably why I've chosen to write about these, my little loving girls. This is the stuff I need to think about when I'm feeling frayed, worn out, frazzled, from the stuff of being stay-at-home Mommy. I need to think about it because it lifts my spirits instantly, but also because I need to remind myself that if I wasn't stay-at-home Mommy, I might not get these moments, or maybe not as many of them. And I wouldn't miss them for anything.
And now on to my "Chopped" adventure and recipes for the week. This was my third week of our home version of Chopped. The ingredient this week was lobster. I have never cooked lobster before, and only rarely ever eaten it, so yesterday I splurged at the grocery store and bought five lobster tails. My idea was to use the lobster in two ways. I wanted to make it into a salad and use it as a kind of stuffing for an open-face halved avocado, and then make a stuffing to put into a split lobster tail. I used mostly the same flavors in the two stuffings. It went very well and the finished meal was delicious, if I do say so myself.
Here's the recipe:
I used 5 lobster tails (though you could probably use 6, or even 7; see below). Three of them I boiled for 8 minutes, as instructed, and the other two I took out after about 6 minutes, since I was going to use them as the stuffed lobsters and didn't want them to get overcooked when putting them into the oven with the stuffing. However, in retrospect, I would cook all of the lobster tails for the full 8 minutes. See my comments at the end of the recipe for how and why I would do this part differently.
3 boiled lobster tails, broken into small pieces (I'm sure you could also use lump crab meat)
1 stick melted butter
1 Tbsp minced capers (rinse capers before chopping them)
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Mix all ingredients together and put in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes, just to let it thicken up a little. Don't chill too long or the butter will solidify and the salad with be very thick and dense (if it does get too cold, you can just mix it well to break it up again and it will be fine). Cut 3 avocados in half (I used 2, but there was enough salad to do 3, I think), remove the pit, and spoon the lobster salad on top. You could also serve this salad on a bed of spinach, or maybe in a wrap or sandwich or with crackers.
Stuffed Lobster Tail
3 Lobster tails, cooked and split down middle (I used 2, but there was enough stuffing for 3, maybe even 4)
3 pieces white bread
2 scallions, minced
1/2 Tbsp minced capers
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 stick melted butter
1/2 tsp dried dill
Combine all ingredients but lobster to make stuffing. When I made this, I took two lobster tails out of the boiling water a little early for this part of the meal. As mentioned above, in retrospect, I would do this differently and go ahead and cook all the lobster tails for the full 8 minutes. I took the two tails out early to try to prevent over cooking the lobster, since I planned to stuff the tails and then put them in the oven. However, one of the tails I took out early was not cooked enough to even be able to get it out of the shell (it was still mushy). So I put it in the microwave to finish cooking the meat and used it as one of the three lobster tails in the lobster salad. I used the other tail that I took out early (not sure why this one wasn't as undercooked and came out of the shell easily) and one that I cooked the full 8 minutes to do the stuffed lobster tails, and they both ended up being a little bit overcooked after baking them with the stuffing inside. So, bake the stuffing separately at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Then stuff it in the split lobster tails, as shown below.
While you're stuffing the tails, preheat the broiler. Put the stuffed lobster tails under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the top of the stuffing and warm the lobster a bit. Plate it with a stuffed avocado and serve. I probably should have prepared another vegetable to complete the meal a bit better, and I know the way I served it makes it look kind of like a goofy face. I couldn't resist.
I'm really proud of how these recipes turned out. I got a little bit of inspiration for the stuffed avocados from a novel I was reading (the main characters ate crab-stuffed avocados that were steamed), but other than the beginnings of an idea, I came up with these recipes on my own, using an ingredient that I was not familiar with cooking at all. And other than changing the process of cooking a little, I would not change the recipe at all. This week was really fun, as my husband was very impressed. I think pretty soon we'll be switching to two ingredients each week (to be used in the same meal). Happy eating!